All's Fair, Part Two: The Best-Laid Plans

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(February 16th)


“Are you prepared to face your doom, Champions? Are you prepared to face the ultimate force in fear and awe? Do you tremble yet, against the might of Terrorfire?”

“How is that spelled, anyway?” Lucky screwed up his face in concentration, jotting down notes on a pad of paper. “I mean, you’ve got this whole dual-element thing going, so is it like t-air-e-r-fire? Or just like ‘someone who terrifies’?”

“I thought of putting both elements into my name, but it sort of confused the licensor, so I figured I might as well…” Terrorfire broke off abruptly, glaring down at the three heroes standing before and below him – Lucky and Ash bracing Timebender, arms raised against the glare coming off their opponent. He raised one black-clad arm menacingly, his crimson cloak billowing in the wind that suspended him two feet off the ground, protected in a whirlwind of fiery sparks . His silver skull-mask covered the upper half of his face, but not enough to conceal his annoyance. “You’re making fun of my name. Again.”

“No! No, no, well maybe, a little, okay yes.” Lucky shrugged helplessly. “I make fun of things. It’s what I do.”

“It’s better than Firenado.” Timebender said. “And the suit’s definitely a step up. Very… dramatic.”

“Melodramatic.” muttered Lucky.

Timebender shushed him hurriedly. “You were talking about our terror, I think?”

“No, it’s no use, I’ve lost the moment.” Terrorfire sighed heavily, dipping a few inches towards the ground. “Well, whatever. I didn’t come here to pose dramatically, I came here to defeat you dramatically. I can deliver my speech over your unconscious bodies just as easily.” He glared at Lucky. “We’ll see who’s melodramatic when I’ve draped you across a lamppost.”

“Technically, I don’t think that’ll actually change –”

The rest of Lucky’s statement was drowned out by a megaphone-powered shout from down the street. “Not so fast, Champions! Prepare to be defeated!” As everyone turned in shock, Nightshade marched down the street, at the head of a small battalion of Ultiminions. “Hah! Did you think you had the night off, Champions? Think that we couldn’t mount a heist without our president?”

“Um, I don’t mean to…” Terrorfire began.

“I did, actually.” Timebender looked past Nightshade, counting Ultiminions. “Look, we’re kind of busy, so just call the house and leave a message or something. We’ll deal with you tomorrow.”

“Excuse me…” Terrorfire said.

“I don’t think so! We’re going to take control of the local power grid, and you can’t do a thing to stop us! Just try it!”

“Listen up!” Tired of politeness, Terrorfire let off a gout of flame that stretched fifty feet into the air. “I had this encounter registered, so you can just walk your cybernecrotic dolls back to your skyscraper and wait your turn! Honestly!” He fumed. “Doesn’t anyone in this podunk town understand the value of proper engagement etiquette?”

“Who the hell are you?” Nightshade glared at Terrorfire.

“I am Terrorfire!” Every word was punctuated with another burst of flame. “Master of the wind and blaze! Haunter of your nightmares! Master villain of the Mideast! And,” he added, “I damned well sent you notification that I was coming here, and you did not tell me you were going to get involved. I checked.” He glared heavily.

“Uh…” Nightshade glanced over to the Champions, then back to Terrorfire. “You, uh, you didn’t send it via fax, did you?” Terrorfire nodded. “To the doc’s line?” Terrorfire nodded again. “Ah. I see.” She twiddled her thumbs nervously. “See, we don’t actually have access to that. Ada password-locked it after Phil started answering junk mail. Sorry.”

“I see.” Terrorfire nodded after a moment. “So you’ll be leaving, then.”

“Guess so.” Shaking her head, Nightshade reached up to her ear to trigger her comm.. “Damned shame, too. We had a great plan. Oh, well, it’ll keep. Hey, Phil, we have to nonono don’t!”

There was a flash of pale light. When it cleared, there was no one between Nightshade and Terrorfire. Lucky, Timebender, and Ash were gone. Terrorfire gaped. Then he rounded on Nightshade. “Where are there?!”

“Around. Within a mile or two, give or take.” Nightshade slapped her forehead. “Figures. Damn thing has, like, a 30% success rate, and it works perfectly when my idiot partner sets it off by mistake. Phil, you moron.” She listened to her comm. for a moment. “No, I don’t know what ‘Signal intercepted’ means. Jesus.” She turned to Terrorfire. “So, uh, I seem to have accidentally stolen your opponents. Want to help me find them?”

”Amateurs.” Muttering under his breath, Terrorfire let his flames wink out. “I’ll check northwards, you cover the east.” He moved off. “Absolute bloody amateurs.”

A block away, safely concealed behind her suit’s stealth system, Lucy chuckled as she watched them go. “Mayhem, this is Lucy. The teleport signal’s been planted and triggered. Is the package transferred?”

“That’s positive.” Lord Mayhem’s voice was soft. “The Atlantean relays have activated as needed, and the Champions are now enroute to their final destination. I will be leaving momentarily.”

“Beautiful. See you in a few.” Clicking her system off, Lucy smiled. She glanced down the road to where Terrorfire was still stalking off. “Bad luck, friend. But your bad luck’s our lucky day. Psibeacon transit.” In a blur of blue light, she faded away.


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